twitter facebook linkedin youtube-play instagram chevron-left chevron-right
3 Need-To-Know Questions for Real Estate & Housing Digital Ads
Marketing Tactics

3 Need-To-Know Questions for Real Estate & Housing Digital Ads

If you’re in real estate you’ve got a website. You’re networking like mad, and now you’re thinking about dipping a toe into the internet advertising game. But with so many options now, how do you decide where to spend your money? What do all of these platforms do? Is my audience even here? Wait...who is my audience again? 

It can be a lot. Our first recommendation is always going to be to reach out to us. We can help you figure out the most effective audience for your specific business and market, where that audience is spending their time, and what mix of platforms will be the most effective at delivering leads and increasing awareness at your budget. 

But, If you’re not ready for that step yet, at the very least consider your answers to these questions before you start a real estate digital marketing campaign.

Who’s my audience?

Well, who’s buying houses? According to the NAR 2021 Generational Trends report, the largest percentage of buyers came from the Gen Xers (41 to 55) and Older Millennials (31 to 40). 

Your particular market may vary — Milwaukee County has a higher percentage of 25-34 and 35-44-year-olds than the state of Wisconsin, while Brookfield has more 41-55 and 65+-year-olds. 

Considering your current clients is also important. The best leads come from referrals, but what if those referrals also saw your digital ads? 

Once you’ve figured out who you want to target, you have to figure out where to find them.

What platforms should I advertise on?

Let’s focus on the power platforms. These have the most users and the highest conversion rates, aka the most potential for your real estate business. 


Facebook continues to be the most popular social media platform. Most users are women skewing heavily towards 18-44-year-olds, but its fastest-growing age group is users 55+. It's also the most popular platform among Americans 65 and older. 

Real estate advertising benchmark data from a third party shows that Facebook has the highest conversion rate out of the other social media options at 10.68%. This means that more than 10% of people who clicked on an ad became a lead, signed up for a mailing list, or completed some other conversion action. 

Bottom line: this is seemingly the place to be for real estate advertisers.


Google Search 

With 13.46 million search queries processed in just June 2021 alone, Google outranks most other advertising platforms in terms of sheer size and potential. And, since people are on Google searching for something specific rather than stumbling on an ad elsewhere, search engines generally deliver a higher number of conversions.

Personally, I’ll always think it's necessary to have a Google Search campaign if only to flush out competitors who’re bidding on your brand terms. In real estate, it's a little tricky. Unless you’re bidding on super specific, long-tail keywords (not just “home for sale”), you’ll be competing against the big compilers:, Zillow, Trulia, etc. Think carefully about what your value proposition is, the type of homes you’re selling, and the terms searchers might use to find you. 

We’ve seen success advertising for terms around the location (including specific neighborhoods!) and the home features. And avoid jargon in these ads because no one’s searching those terms:


Avg. Monthly Search Volume (US)







hardwood floor


Google Display

Ever been perusing a website and noticed ads on the sides and top? Or watching a YouTube video and an ad cuts in? They’re probably Google display ads. While you can contact websites directly to advertise, or use programmatic buying for higher-quality placements, most websites these days are available on the Google Display Network. 

Display ads generally have lower engagement (0.80% conversion rate for real estate as compared to 2.47% for Google Search and 10.68% for Facebook). However, if awareness is a goal, this is an excellent platform. Google Display has the lowest cost per click at $0.75, meaning you get a lot more bang for your buck.

Targeting your desired audiences is extremely easy. Google has specific interest categories for pretty much everything, from people looking to buy a new home to boating and sailing enthusiasts to those who are retiring soon. 

If you go this route, keep an eye on where your ads show up. There are essentially no restrictions for what site, app, or YouTube channel can be part of the Google Display Network. We’ve recently seen ads showing on sites and apps geared towards kids. The parents might be boaters, but the four-year-old using their phone for games is probably not interested in a lake house. 


Bing Search

While Bing doesn’t command nearly the number of users as its counterpart, there is a lot of potential there. The conversion rate and cost per conversion are where Bing really outshines the competition. At a benchmark 5.13% conversion rate, it sees more than 2x the conversions of Google, and the cost per conversion is around $85 less ($116.61 vs $29.40). Since there are generally fewer advertisers on Bing, you don’t compete as much per keyword. That means better results with broader keywords. 



With custom audience segments, retargeting, and premium placements, programmatic ads are an ideal platform for realtors looking to boost awareness. These ads are served across a network of websites including large publications, high-end magazines, and local news networks. The benefit is twofold: the advertisers get better placements, and the websites hosting the ads get verified advertisers. 

What are the real estate & housing advertising restrictions?

Each platform has its own idea of what’s allowed and what isn’t. Plus, the rules change all the time — especially Facebook’s. Google has a bit fewer restrictions, and Bing and LinkedIn have essentially none, but always keep in mind that your local laws come first. These platforms don’t have a say in whether or not you can be held legally responsible for discriminatory targeting.

All of the platforms have a blanket policy stating something along the lines of “Advertisers are wholly responsible for making sure ad targeting, including 1st and 3rd party data, is legal and complies with all applicable local and regional regulations and the policy.”

Challenging whether your business’s ad targeting is discriminatory or not is a fairly complex issue that you’d need a legal team to look into, so it may be best to opt for the safer side and just avoid demographic targeting altogether. 


So where do I go from here?

The housing market has been hit with tons of upheaval this past year. And on top of that, there were more people looking to move than ever. Most realtors have traditional and out-of-home advertising perfected, but there’s a lot of space on the internet just waiting for your ad. You can go it on your own, or you can turn to CID to help keep everything running smoothly.

Need help planning and executing your digital advertising plan? Get in touch with us at



Put our teams to work for your business

Contact Us